There are few video game characters as iconic as Super Mario. In fact, given the vast popularity of the character across the world, it is no exaggeration to say that Super Mario is the biggest video game icon in the world.
It is not just the enduring popularity of Mario that is amazing, but the fact that the franchise continues to thrive to this very day. Even in 2017, Super Mario Odyssey was a smash hit, having been ranked on most lists as best or second best game of the year. It is almost miraculous, especially considering how other enduring characters, such as Sonic, suffer massive fluctuations on popularity.
Let’s take a look at how Mario has endured over the decades.
Super Mario Bros. – 1985
Super Mario Bros. released in 1985, and much like online blackjack was an instant smash hit. Curiously, it followed a game formula that was well known at the time, a 2D platformer, yet seemed to still find incredible popularity.
The simple truth is that although Super Mario Bros was a known formula, it succeeded in perfecting the formula in a way other games did not. The jumping was just right, level design manageable but challenging, and with character oozing from every oversized pixel in the game world. Super Mario Bros was a great 2D platformer in a world where game design as still experimental.
New Super Mario Bros. – 2008
Jump eleven years into the future to New Super Mario Bros. and Mario is a well-known and well-loved franchise. Many Mario games have been released, and many found incredible success. From Mario RPG games to Mario Teaches Typing, the games had been extremely broad and varied. But with Nintendo holding the rights to Mario, a fairly strong policy was followed of making sure all Mario games were of high quality.
New Super Mario Bros. was another loved game in the franchise, featuring colorful visuals, great design, and being polished to a fine video game shine. A term “Nintendo Polish” is now a common phrase used to describe games released from Nintendo which are all generally extremely well-made and outstanding in their quality.
New Super Mario Bros. U – 2014
Yet another loved Mario game, and yet another game glistening with Nintendo Polish. This Mario game followed Nintendo from console to console, pushing the sales of each new gaming generation, and keeping Nintendo flying high as video game legends.
The Wii U may not have been Nintendo’s best console effort, but Mario remained a drawing card, regardless.
Super Mario Odyssey – 2017
And yet another Mario smash hit in 2017, once again establishing Nintendo and Mario as the kings of the video game industry. From 1985 to 2017, Mario somehow managed to set the bar for video game quality. There are virtually no other video game characters, except perhaps Link in the Legend of Zelda series, who have managed to remain so popular over such a long period of time. Not surprisingly, Zelda is also Nintendo.